Taxpayers have just over a fortnight to finalise and submit their 2016/17 self-assessment tax returns online to avoid an immediate £100 late filing penalty.
Currently, more than 11 million people are required to file an annual tax return, providing with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) with accurate information about their personal income and paying any resulting tax due.
While it is important to submit self-assessment tax returns on time to avoid late filing penalties, it is equally essential to inform HMRC as soon as possible if you are struggling to pay your tax liabilities ahead of the 31st January 2018 due date.
Honesty is the best policy here and maintaining an open line of communication with HMRC will ensure your case is looked at with the utmost sensitivity.
HMRC’s Business Payment Support Service can spread the payment of tax bills if they are made aware of any special circumstances, such as personal illness or an unforeseen decline in income.
Jo Nockels, Senior Training and Technical Communications Manager, TaxAssist Accountants, said: “If you can’t afford to pay your tax, make sure you still file your tax return on time.
“This will avoid you being charged late filing penalties, which start at £100 but can escalate to more than £1,600 if your return is more than a year overdue.
“Once you’ve filed your tax return, if paying your tax bill will cause hardship, contact HMRC’s Business Payment Support Service as soon as possible - before the 31st January deadline has passed.
“If HMRC are satisfied that you genuinely can’t afford your tax bill and have explored all avenues, they may grant you an extension or agree a payment plan.
“HMRC won’t reduce the amount outstanding and will still charge you interest, but provided you haven’t missed the deadline, you should be offered the best possible terms and avoid late payment penalties.”
If you want to ensure you are paying the right amount of tax to HMRC, please don’t hesitate to contact your local TaxAssist Accountant who can accurately complete your tax return, calculate your tax liabilities and liaise with you on the amounts to be paid and their due dates.